Brand Activism: how a company can become a leader in 2020
Brand Activism and Social Responsibility
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”
Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
A little while ago, the English author and essayist Simon Sinek burst onto the scene with a surprising idea: clear, strong, sincere and honest ideals sell better than a technically impeccabile product. Crazy, right?
This incredible truth sheds light on the paths of all of us who ask ourselves what the secret will be to having not only a client base, but also an admiring public in 2020. Admirers, fans, enthusiasts stay connected to a company forever, while a client might come and go.
“And what you do simply proves what you believe”
People don’t just buy what you do, they buy the values you believe in, the flame that burns in the heart of your business. They want to feel inspired. They want to see themselves in our company culture and take pride in buying our products or services.
In the end, the product/service is the material incarnation of our thought. The richer the thought, the more symbolic value the product acquires.
Companies have the power to influence public opinion by taking a stand on the issues that permeate our daily lives. That’s why today’s consumers expect businesses to put themselves out there, transforming their ideals into action in support of gender equality, women’s rights, minorities, the environment, alternative energy, and of banning plastics to reduce pollution in the ocean.
Companies as Corporate Citizens
Every company is considered an active part of society, and so they have the right (and in some way even the duty) to do something. Brand Activism refers to the effort a business makes to promote positive change in society, the environment and the economy.
This is really just the natural evolution of Social Responsibility, which a lot of you are already familiar with. This evolution is necessary for a company to become a good Corporate Citizen. In order to explain what this term means, we’ll hand it over to Scott Stephenson, president of Verisk Analytics:
“A lot of folks across industries are talking about corporate citizenship. What does it mean to be a good corporate citizen?
According to Investopedia, “Corporate citizenship involves the social responsibility of businesses and the extent to which they meet legal, ethical, and economic responsibilities, as established by shareholders.”
Being a good corporate citizen is not a “nice to have.” To remain a responsible, competitive, and profitable company, it’s a “must have.”
A good corporate citizen means being guided by strong moral and ethical standards in daily interactions with customers, shareholders, and employees. That includes carefully balancing shareholders’ needs with those of the community and always considering the environmental impact of business operations.
Good corporate citizens value, monitor, and beneficially affect communities and societies at large.”
From Corporate Citizen to Values-Driven Company
Brand Activism also pursues branding and marketing objectives, but it’s more concrete and more consistent than a program of Social Responsibility. It takes on issues that are a part of our lives in the here and now. It leads to what’s called a values-driven company, endowing businesses with the charisma to become a reference point for people all over. Having followers and admirers means exactly this.
As you can imagine, these companies become leaders, and not only on the market.
The examples of NIKE, IKEA, and Corona
In the summer of 2016, Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the National Anthem that precedes NFL games in America. He’s done it in protest against the ongoing injustices that the Afro-American minority face in the USA.
Nike chose him to endorse one of their marketing campaigns.
The rainbow version of the IKEA bag was designed last summer in the US to celebrate LGBT+ Pride month.
The description for this IKEA commercial translates to “Everyone has the right to feel at home in their own skin.This right has been denied to the people in this video.” #FATELOACASAVOSTRA #IDAHOBIT #IDAHOT2019”
Corona’s campaign here was designed to sensitize people to the amount of plastic that’s polluting our planet, especially our seas and oceans.
Since we’ve been talking about Brand Activism, it only makes sense to make a quick stop in Consumer Activism
Consumer Activism refers to all of the actions that a consumer sets in motion in order to influence company behavior. The basic idea is that every consumer has the power to improve the quality and conditions in which products are made, distributed, marketed and sold. This power is just as important as that of companies, because without consumers the market would collapse.
The Scottish economist Adam Smith said “the consumer is king”. Sounds right to us.
Environmentalism and Euroklimat, let’s go green
Those of you who work in industrial refrigeration like us inevitably come up against the problem of global warming and climate change.
This is the great challenge of our times. There’s no going back and there’s no ignoring it.
What can we do? Well, we can use gases with high GWP in our plants and systems, or we can look for alternative resources to contribute to protecting our planet. We’re focusing on the second path, taking those principles of Brand Activism and turning them into concrete Environmentalism.
Why? Because we believe in conscientious, careful production that fosters the conscious, mindful use of refrigeration systems and conditioning systems, especially in industrial processes and factories. In this day and age, that’s the kind of leader we’d like to be.